Europa Games and Military History

The Official Histories of New Zealand in the First World War

No full official account of New Zealand’s participation in the First World War was ever published. Only four official volumes were published (1919-1923), and they were written by senior officers who had fought in the campaigns (Gallipoli, Sinai/Palestine, Western Front) but who generally had no training as historians. A useful summary on the genesis of the offical history can be found at Wikipedia.

Although providing detailed accounts of the fighting on the battlefields itself, they did not describe New Zealand during the war, its economy, politics or society, and the home-defence and patriotic efforts, New Zealanders in the naval or air war, and those serving with other British or Australian forces are not included. Despite this, the four official histories became accepted sources for New Zealand’s military effort in the Great War, and have never been updated or superseded.

The official history of the New Zealand Forces was written up in four volumes.


Additionally, the following volumes can be found at the New Zealand Electronic Text Foundation as official histories, which I presume constitutes some kind of endorsement as “official” works.


  1. Michael Wynd

    There were no official histories published by New Zealand after the First World War. The four volume set was a popular history which was intended to fill the gap until the official histories could be produced. Currently there is a project which is writing an official history of New Zealand in the First World War and have issued nine volumes on various topics to date. Those other histories were produced by the various units of the Division and Mounted Rifles. They are best described as “regimental histories”. The popular histories and the regimental histories have some value, however there are glaring omissions and some white-washing of commanding officers.

    • chef

      Dear Mr Wynd, thank you very much for this insights. We will incorporate this information into the article as time permits.
      Best Regards!

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